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Another next step up for telescopes means more money

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#1 HouseBuilder328

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 05:11 PM

I'm still working on my friend joining CN but it will take some time, he is very reclusive.  But he wanted me to ask your opinions.  (He's a lurker). 

 

So far, he's been using binoculars, some junk big box telescopes, Celestron Explorers, and currently a 6se.  He has now saved up a few thousand dollars and his choices are:   Celestron 8se, Celestron Evolution 9.25, Celestron 8 EdgeHD or 11HD (with CGX mount).  

 

He has 2 toddlers, is very busy, but dedicates a lot of time to his hobbies.  But he is kind of hesitant on going with the best (meaning an 11 inch) because of the counterweights, and trips needed from inside to outside to set this up.   Is the Celestron Evolution 9.25 much easier to set up vs a CGX mount because it definitely seems so, no counterweights at all!?  Another important point, he says he has NO interest in astrophotography at this time because he has tons of great pictures from that Facebook group "Telescope Addicts" that he doesn't feel the need to capture his own photos - he has a lot of fun looking at others' photos (as do I!). 

 

He's already searched many threads and they all pretty much focus on buying the telescope that you will use the most - in conclusion, the 8 inch scopes seem to be the most used.  He is wondering on the amount of detail seen with an 8 inch vs 11 inch, for example, on Saturn.  I think that's why he settled on buying the 9.25inch Evolution. 

 

He prefers to look at solar system objects, planets and some deep sky objects.  I did tell him that looking at some deep sky objects may require a wider field of view like an Explore Scientific ED102-FCD-100 refractor - was that correct advice?  How is the Celestron 9.25 for DSO?

 

Thanks for any comments for my lurker friend, and I'll continue to try to recruit another member for CN!



#2 HouseBuilder328

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 05:34 PM

I forgot to also say and looked this up for him, it is a Class 6 Bortle sky. 



#3 Gary Z

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 05:35 PM

Hello Housebuilder,

 

If a man is quite busy with toddlers, maybe that 6SE isn't a bad rig to use for now.  I served in the USAF and was gone quite often and move around over 20 times....point is, I waited until after I retired and was "settled" before investing in any optics that would otherwise get damaged in the process. Work, time, effort, weather, etc all play a role in when we get engaged in this hobby.

 

These are all things to consider when you are going to engage in any hobby, but as to your specific questions:

 

First, Yes the Evolution mount like the SE Mount and most alt-az mounts, especially the Celestron mounts are very easy to setup and get started.  

 

Second,  SCTs are great for DSOs...observing....Yes a focal reducer/corrector will give you a wider view, but depending on which SCT you get, the cost of this focal reducer/corrector will be quite substantial.  If you get the classic SCT (non-edge or non-rasa), the price is reasonable.  

 

I think the main consideration is how busy your friend is.  The Evolution mount with the 9.25" scope is a very good rig for observing.  Planetary detail over the 8 inch is fantastic.  I love my 8 inch SCT, but the first time I viewed Mars through an 9.25" SCT, I was blown away.  It is optically a better scope.  

 

Other considerations:  If your friend has any back or neck issues, remember the Evolution mount is a heavier mount, but can be disassembled.  The 9.25" scope alone weighs in at 22 lbs, VS the 8 inch SCT at 11 lbs (regular SCT, not edge or RASA).  

 

I also have a 127mm Maksutov Scope.  Great for observing planets and stars, and the Evolution mount and this telescope is a great fit.  

 

Refractors are not a bad way to go for observing, but even more important, will your friend have the time to setup an equatorial mount.  This requires polar alignment.  But for visual use, it doesn't have to be accurate as if you were imaging, something you indicated that your friend isn't into.  

 

With the Evolution mount, like the SE Mount, you have to level the tripod, balance your gear, (which you cannot do on the SE Mount as easily), and you can do the alignment and your ready for observing.  Plus with the EVO Mount, you can observe for hours without worrying about extra power due to the build in lithium battery.  I don't use the wifi, so I won't comment on that, but this mount is a great mount in my opinion for ease of setup and use.  NOTE: I can use my Stellarvue 80mm refractor on it.  I have a longer dovetail on it so I can more easily balance it out with what I want to put on it. While it may be possible to put a larger refractor on it, there may be clearance issues, but here on CN, others have found a way around it, but takes time, and considerable ingenuity to make it work. 

 

Gary



#4 havasman

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 06:20 PM

I've always thought that 9.25" Celestron sits in a real sweet spot in the aperture versus weight continuum. Approaching 70 years myself, if age ever requires me to downsize to an SCT with it's compact package I only hope to still be able to handle that 9.25" jewel.

 

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#5 dr.who

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 06:49 PM

The 11 is only 8lbs heavier than the 9.25 and the dimensions on both are close to equal. It is better to do the 11.

 

 

That said an 8” EdgeHD paired with a Explore Scientific (ES) 80mm FCD100 APO mounted on top of it riding on a Celestron AVX with Star Sense, a Tele Vue shorty 2” Compression to SCT thread (so he can use the diagonal that comes with the 80), and the ES 18mm, 14 or 11mm, and 8.8mm 82 degree eyepieces is one heck of an amazing combination of wide field and go deep or go after small DSO scopes. And if/when the AP bug bites him he has a affordable startup setup. Especially from B6 skies...



#6 dr.who

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 06:51 PM

Alternatively he could go with a better more capable mount and get the Skywatcher EQ6-R. Though he will need the Skywatcher version of StarSense. The Key factor of the SS is that it will align the scope for him once he has it dialed in. Saves some time and hassle.



#7 J A VOLK

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 07:19 PM

Consider a standard SCT (11?) - way less expensive, put the extra money into aperture, mount and accessories.   The primary advantage of the Edge is imaging, although off-axis visual stars will be sharper - planetary is the same.  The standard SCTs are easier to cool too (through the rear port).



#8 SteveV

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 07:44 PM

Or;

 

Buy a scope just for the kids.  One they can use and abuse and grow into. 8" f/6 Dob.  Eventually teach them to use a sky map and star hop.  Spend the savings on killer eyepieces.   

 

Who's having more fun:  8 year walks up to a scope on target or pushes a button and finds the Orion nebula. vs 8 year old somehow randomly with a Telrad or Rigel finds the Orion Nebula on their own.

 

HTH


Edited by SteveV, 22 February 2020 - 08:59 PM.

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#9 stoest

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 08:54 PM

It's always really hard to say what will work for someone else but I really like my 9.25" Evo.  Even after getting a big dob I'm always pleasantly surprised by the views when I take it out.  As for the field of view question, there are very few objects that I can't enjoy using a 82 30mm eyepiece.  Some things won't fit the entire object in the field of view but that rarely matters.  There's always the .63 FR if you want a bigger field of view although I prefer just using at F10 with a 2" diagonal even though I have a reducer.  

 

The Wi-Fi built into the Evo is great and pairing it with SkySafari made a great combination for me.  If you see something in SkySafari that looks interesting just push go-to and you're there.

 

To me the only possible drawback to the Evo's is that with everything built in, if something goes wrong you're probably done for the night, that's never happened to me in my 4+ years with mine but it could happen.  It could be used manually by loosening the clutches but I don't think that would work well.

 

I got the Evo as a getting back into astronomy after having a scope as a kid and I've been extremely pleased with it. It does a lot of things really really well.  I contemplated selling it after I got the dob but just couldn't part with it.


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#10 dr.who

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 01:15 AM

Consider a standard SCT (11?) - way less expensive, put the extra money into aperture, mount and accessories.   The primary advantage of the Edge is imaging, although off-axis visual stars will be sharper - planetary is the same.  The standard SCTs are easier to cool too (through the rear port).

Well... Not exactly. The standard SCT can be cooled with a Cat Cooler but every time the temp drops the diagonal and EP has to be pulled and Cat Cooler put in and run for 10+ or so minutes. With the EdgeHD the TEMPest fans can be added to it which not only cool the scope quickly but can be left running while observing so that as the temp drops TE is maintained.

 

It has been my experience that the TEMPest fans cool the 8" to the point where stars are not flaring fuzzy wooly ones in about 15 minutes, 30 minutes in the 11", and 45 in the 14". And the scope is at TE after about an additional 30ish minutes.* That is much better than the Cat Cooler does. Plus the Edge gives refractor like views to the edge of the field with no curvature which is much more pleasing to the eye. 

 

* This assumes a 20-30 degree F temp drop. I would take my scopes from my 70ish degree car into 40ish degree outside temps at my dark sky site in the winter where it would be at about 40F in the early evening and get down to the high 20's in the later hours. The TEMPest fans kept up nicely with the temp drops. No interruptions in observing to pull the diagonal/EP and put in the Cat Cooler which is what I started with on a regular 8" SCT before moving to the Edge due to field curvature which was annoying to me.



#11 sg6

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 04:55 AM

Tend to agree with the "Go buy the youngsters a scope".

So stick with the 6SE, get them something inexpensive, keep most of the money and eveyone goes outside with a likely manual scope and a goto. Maybe a 100mm achro or a 6" dobsonian.

 

Eveyone seems to get the "must have the biggest scope possible" idea, and then many posts here reinforce that thought. Do think that as astronomers we need to think a little more then bigger is better.

 

One above is get the 11", then to make it useable get an expensive reducer. Doesn't that sort of imply that in it's native state is is somewhat unuseable or restricted?

 

How many would buy a car and feel it is perfectly fine to be told to make it a useable car you have to spend $3000 on some other bit?


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#12 Mr. Mike

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 05:16 AM

Tend to agree with the "Go buy the youngsters a scope".

So stick with the 6SE, get them something inexpensive, keep most of the money and eveyone goes outside with a likely manual scope and a goto. Maybe a 100mm achro or a 6" dobsonian.

 

Eveyone seems to get the "must have the biggest scope possible" idea, and then many posts here reinforce that thought. Do think that as astronomers we need to think a little more then bigger is better.

 

One above is get the 11", then to make it useable get an expensive reducer. Doesn't that sort of imply that in it's native state is is somewhat unuseable or restricted?

 

How many would buy a car and feel it is perfectly fine to be told to make it a useable car you have to spend $3000 on some other bit?

I see your point here about having to tweak the scope immediately to make it do what you want is sort of strange.  It’s like, people don’t but widefield refractors and then start finding ways to increase their focal length to get more magnification... do they? I say buy the scope you want that’s the best for your intended use.  Don’t try to make an SCT into a wide field sky sweeper.  Just my opinion.

 

Ss for the OP, my vote is always to get the scope that will actually get used and used often versus the light canon which will spend a lot of time sitting unless you’re environment and viewing area is textbook perfect.  That means like an observatory or extremely dark skies right outside your door.



#13 SeattleScott

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 08:35 AM

I insulated my Mak with Reflectivix for $15 to eliminate cool down time. Took maybe half an hour. Does require scissors. No Edge vents needed.

It is kind of like dew control. That is something you REALLY need with a SCT. And it never comes with it. Why? Because some want the $30 Astrozap dew shield and some want a $200 dew strap and controller. Depends a lot on where you live. People In Hawaii might not care about cooling at all. The need to deal with dew or cooling depends a lot on where you live, and there are different approaches that cost different amounts of money. So they sell it without anything to keep cost down and you buy what you want. I mean, who buys a new telescope and proceeds to use it regularly for the next 20 years using only the stock eyepiece it came with? It is assumed you will need additional eyepieces. But some already have them. For those who don’t, some want $50 ones and others prefer $500 ones. So they just provide one cheap one to keep costs down and you figure out where to go from there.

The Evo is a good step up from the 6SE. Views should be about twice as bright. Quite portable for that much aperture. The 11” would give better views, but not dramatically better, and it is dramatically heavier.

None of these are wide field scopes so they will struggle with framing large targets like Pleiades, Beehive, maybe Double Cluster. But ultimately there just aren’t that many really big objects. A 4” refractor would be good for wide field but it has less light grasp than the 6SE. He can always put a reducer on the 6SE and use it for wide field. Still won’t be wide field nirvana, but you don’t get wide field nirvana with anything that has more light grasp than a 6SE.

As for getting a scope for the kids, I didn’t hear the OP say that was in play. I think the scope is just for him. The kids are just toddlers now. As someone with young kids, I can say stargazing was the hobby I was able to maintain, largely because I can do it after the kids go to bed. I can also advise on what scopes to get for them when the time comes. But that time probably isn’t now.

Scott
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#14 Barkingsteve

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 08:35 AM

I have an Evo 925 with starsense and love it. While it is heavy as you get the beefed up tripod with it, setup could not be easier, the built in battery and wifi makes things even more simplified. In my opinion though, the C925 is a tad heavy for this arm and will vibrate a bit while focusing or in strongish wind.I control it with sky safari on an android 8" tablet and mostly use it for EAA, although i use a 130 pds on this mount for wider views now. For ease of use and keeping it simple you cannot beat the evolution, if your friend does have any inkling of interest in ap down the line, get an eq mount now instead.

Level tripod and lock down mount and scope, level scope and turn on mount, connect to mount with phone or tablet, start skysafari or skyportal ( free celestron version ) select connect and align, 2 minutes later you are ready to go, no polar align, no power issues, etc.  you want it simple then the evolution is the way to go, just remember to charge the battery smile.gif


Edited by Barkingsteve, 23 February 2020 - 08:37 AM.

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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 08:41 AM

Well... Not exactly. The standard SCT can be cooled with a Cat Cooler but every time the temp drops the diagonal and EP has to be pulled and Cat Cooler put in and run for 10+ or so minutes. With the EdgeHD the TEMPest fans can be added to it which not only cool the scope quickly but can be left running while observing so that as the temp drops TE is maintained.

 

 

There has been a change recently in the thinking about managing thermal issues in SCT's.  A dutch amateur/pro whose CN handle is Yellobeard introduced the concept of insulating an SCT to stabilize the internal thermal condition and thus eliminate the tube currents that disrupt the image.  This is a guy who refigures his SCT corrector plates and builds his own SCT from scratch and is an optical specialist for the Dutch military. 

 

Many report good success with this technique.  

 

Here's another ATM SCT from a Dutch "ATM"/Pro.. It's insulated.

 

158978001.hTCMVDeD.jpg

 

Something to think about anyway.

 

Jon



#16 thomasr

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 08:43 AM



Who's having more fun: 8 year walks up to a scope on target or pushes a button and finds the Orion nebula. vs 8 year old somehow randomly with a Telrad or Rigel finds the Orion Nebula on their own.

Depends on the 8 year old.


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#17 MalVeauX

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 09:17 AM

Heya,

 

For someone new to this, with little kids, and being busy... having a complex setup that is heavy and bulky and lots of fiddling could possibly end up being a chore. That makes me think that a 30~40+ lb mount (EQ) and some big scopes, counter weights, cables, power, dew management, etc, is going to be a lot of work and then find out that after the time it takes to align the thing and tell it to GoTo something big and bright and they still can't find it because it's off by a degree or so, it will be a frustrating experience. That's going to happen with any setup for someone new to this of course (the finding of things).

 

I would suggest a simple mount that is great for visual with the ability to use two scopes without elaborate mounting hardware. Something with some aperture, like a 180mm Mak or C8 or C9.25, and a nice ED frac next to it for wide field. Maybe a mount like the AZ Mount Pro. Or, maybe a simple 12" dob with motors & goto like Skywatcher's Synscan series.

 

Some kids will want to push a button and see something bright and interesting, it'll last 5 seconds, if that, they'll say "Woooaaa!" and then they're done. Other kids will want to just play with the parts and make it do stuff. As long as they get to do it themselves and play with it and not feel like it's a hands-off thing, they will have some interest. Short sessions. Very short.

 

Frankly, get a scope setup for yourself. Then get something decent but very user friendly for the kids; your own Grab & Go for example that they can use. Something they can play with that you won't have heart palpitations when they're touching the glass, eyepieces or if it takes a dive.

 

If the kids are involved; let 'em play with it! waytogo.gif

 

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Very best,


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#18 JoshUrban

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 09:46 AM

Heya,

 

For someone new to this, with little kids, and being busy... having a complex setup that is heavy and bulky and lots of fiddling could possibly end up being a chore. That makes me think that a 30~40+ lb mount (EQ) and some big scopes, counter weights, cables, power, dew management, etc, is going to be a lot of work and then find out that after the time it takes to align the thing and tell it to GoTo something big and bright and they still can't find it because it's off by a degree or so, it will be a frustrating experience. That's going to happen with any setup for someone new to this of course (the finding of things).

 

I would suggest a simple mount that is great for visual with the ability to use two scopes without elaborate mounting hardware. Something with some aperture, like a 180mm Mak or C8 or C9.25, and a nice ED frac next to it for wide field. Maybe a mount like the AZ Mount Pro. Or, maybe a simple 12" dob with motors & goto like Skywatcher's Synscan series.

 

Some kids will want to push a button and see something bright and interesting, it'll last 5 seconds, if that, they'll say "Woooaaa!" and then they're done. Other kids will want to just play with the parts and make it do stuff. As long as they get to do it themselves and play with it and not feel like it's a hands-off thing, they will have some interest. Short sessions. Very short.

 

Frankly, get a scope setup for yourself. Then get something decent but very user friendly for the kids; your own Grab & Go for example that they can use. Something they can play with that you won't have heart palpitations when they're touching the glass, eyepieces or if it takes a dive.

 

If the kids are involved; let 'em play with it! waytogo.gif

 

39864477391_837d819bbe_c.jpg

 

45239014774_8a8fc40295_c.jpg

 

45540591892_f5d5e60c16_c.jpg

 

47299321932_41e0874351_c.jpg

 

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Very best,

Marty, these pics are the BEST!  What a great thing you're doing for your kids - and the world.  Thanks for being an awesome parent.  

 

  And then, yeah, great points - OP, is your buddy settled on an SCT?  Grab 'n go is super nice, and well, someone from the Dob Snob crew has to represent.  A well-tuned 8" f/6 dob with some nice eyepieces will be reasonably priced, and setup a breeze.  Plus, the kids can bust it (although unlikely), and he won't have a heart attack.  I love Marty's idea of letting them play with it.  


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#19 SeaBee1

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 09:51 AM

Hey Marty! I see you got some new pics of the kids! I always love it when you demo the kids with your scopes... I've got 5 grandkids and only one remotely interested...

 

 

I agree with you, if they are interested, let 'em play!

 

Keep looking up!

 

CB


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#20 whizbang

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 10:32 AM

The EVO 9.25 is the best all round scope.  It has more light grasp than the C8, and, it easily breaks down into three parts, OTA, mount, and tripod. 

 

The 11 has a larger aperture but I believe the mount and OTA are a heavy backbreaking one-piece assembly. 

 

And, yeah, the Alt-Az EVO is much quicker to set up than an EQ mount.



#21 MalVeauX

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 11:44 AM



What a great thing you're doing for your kids I love Marty's idea of letting them play with it.  

 



Hey Marty! I see you got some new pics of the kids! I always love it when you demo the kids with your scopes... I've got 5 grandkids and only one remotely interested...

 

We just recently added a "porch scope." For those nights when you just want to step out on the back deck in your PJ's and have zero setup time, just lift the TG365 cover off and your 127mm Mak with 7~21 zoom eyepiece ready for planet-peaking. We looked at Venus last night, wonderful phase, no CA, sharp; and then looked at M42 and Sirius. Lovely views from the porch. Less than 5 minutes. Throw the cover back on, go inside. No fuss.

 

Start 'em young! waytogo.gif

 

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The new one will be using a scope from his high chair soon!

 

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++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

 

We love putting scopes on the Twilight II for the kids. They can control everything, move them around effortlessly, nothing to break, nothing to worry about. And you don't have to be up late to view things. We daytime view all the time with solar and morning or late day planets and moon. You can see clusters and globs near dusk even. I could plainly see the belt of Orion last night while the sunset was still happening with Venus chasing and Sirius was poking out too. So the kids don't have to stay up till way late just to get a quick look in.

 

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Very best,


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#22 HouseBuilder328

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 10:33 PM

Thanks for the great replies! And those pictures, MalVeauX! I probably can convince this guy to just join with so many helpful replies to questions.

He is now leaning towards the Celestron Evolution 8 or 9.25. With no AP soon, why deal with polar alignment? That evolution mount seems so easy to align if you have StarSense or even just SkySafari with the built in WiFi. Battery is inside so 1 less thing to plug in. It’s no 11 inch but seems like the 9.25 is no slouch.

Seems like Celestron Evolution series is very good at observing planets and DSOs with minimal fuss.
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